As the holidays approach, Thanksgiving in particular, I'm trying to maintain what I call an "attitude of gratitude." It's not easy - this is the most stressful time of year for most of us, and our fuses tend to be shorter than usual. Well, mine does, at least.
One of the biggest things that tends to get people's panties into bunches is the thought of traveling for the holidays. You start to hear complaints like, "I'm dreading dealing with airport security," or "2.5 hours on a plane with a toddler is going to be a nightmare," or "That 8-hour drive to my folks' house will be torture."
I am so guilty of complaining about travel. I was so happy two years ago when I was too pregnant to travel for the holidays. It was pure bliss to cook for Eric and myself, watch the parades in our jammies and decorate the Christmas tree with cups of hot chocolate in hand. And the only place we had to go on Christmas Day itself was a mile up the road...to the hospital...because I had the baby on Christmas Day :)
But thinking about travel this year -- driving to the in-laws for Thanksgiving and then flying to my hometown for Christmas -- started to get me all hyped up. You can usually just put a giant "UGH" above my head if the topic comes up. However, as I contemplated this blog post, I decided to research truly nightmarish travel, and I can't think of any worse conditions than the people of the Mayflower suffered as they set out to settle the new world...our world.
Fun Facts about the Mayflower:
1. There were no passenger ships in that day, so they all had to get comfy in a space designed for cargo...on beds of hay...next to complete strangers...although, I guess they weren't strangers for long! Sharing morning breath kicks things up to a new level of intimacy really quick!
2. Dinner was usually salt-beef, salt-pork or salt-fish...mmmm! But wait...on salt-fish days you got a little piece of cheese (lucky bastards!) Oh, and don't forget about the oh-so-delicious-ever-lasting ship's biscuits! These puppies stayed "good" for up to 5 whole years...I just hope no one tried to bite into them without dunking them first. Ouch!
3. There were no bathrooms! Yes, I know what you're thinking: Awesome! It was a free-for-all! Well, not quite. Each family had their own chamberpot that got emptied occasionally.
4. Since they didn't have terribly precise navigation tools, they ended up landing 200 miles north of where they originally intended. Crap! "Sorry, everybody! I know we've spent 66 days aboard this uncomfortable and disease-ridden ship, but...well, you're gonna have to get back on. We're not quite there yet."
5. The cost for all this luxury? The equivalent of $1,000 in today's money. I couldn't find out if that was per person or per family, but either way, that's a lot of blunt for the 50/50 chance you had of surviving the whole ordeal.
So what have I taken away from all of this?
1. I will not complain about not being able to recline my seatback on my 2-hour flight due to the fact that I was put at the back of the plane where seatbacks don't recline...or about my back being sore after the 2-hour drive to my in-laws. I could be sleeping in a cargo hold for 66 days next to an open-mouth sleeper.
2. I will not complain about the overpriced, crap food at the airports or the stingy supply of peanuts and pretzels on the plane. I could be eating 5-year-old biscuits and salt-fish for 2 months straight.
3. I will definitely not complain about the tiny airplane bathrooms that smell funny or the grimy gas station bathrooms on the highway. I could be doing my beeswax in a pot of my entire family's beeswax that wouldn't get emptied until next Tuesday!
4. I won't complain when Eric misses our exit and takes us three miles out of the way. It could be 200.
5. I won't complain about the cost of gas or the fact that we now have to drop a little extra dough on a plane seat for our toddler. It's still cheaper than the Mayflower, and a lot more comfy!
So, when you start to stress over the trivialities of traveling this holiday season, just remember what the pilgrims so selflessly went through so that one day we would be able to do our beeswax in our own toilets, in a free country.
What will you not complain about this holiday season?? Leave a comment and be entered into The Christmas Summons Prize Extravaganza!
-Jerrica, Her Grace of Grammar